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THE SIDELINES : Thunderbirds Sign Czech Defector

Petr Nedved, who defected from Czechoslovakia during a Christmas hockey tournament in Canada, has signed a contract with the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Western Hockey League team announced.

Terms were not disclosed.

Nedved, 17, left the Litvinov midget team Jan. 2 during a minor hockey tournament in Calgary. The center was the leading scorer in the tournament and selected to the first all-star team.

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 170-pound Nedved is a native of Liberac, Czechoslovakia. He had 17 goals and 29 points in nine games during the Calgary tournament.

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“We don’t expect Petr to come in and lead the team in scoring, or anything of that nature,” Seattle General Manager Russ Farwell said in a statement. “We realize that there will be a transition period that he will have to go through, very similar to that of a player of his age coming into our league from Canada.”


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